This post is about my rental property in Philadelphia. In this post, I talk about my landlord experience – the good, the bad, and the ugly. All my posts that are related to the rental property can be found in the Rental Property section, including the bad tenant saga series).
As I have previously mentioned, I am currently going through an eviction process. The tenant called me up to talk about settlement.
I told a lot of people about my situation. Now many people know about my rental nightmare and follow my updates on this tenant saga, as if I am part of a drama TV series, except it is my real life.
Many of my colleagues find it very interesting that tenants can find loop holes to stay in someone else’s house for months without paying rent. One of my teammate said to me, “If they don’t pay rent in India, they would have been [physically] thrown out in the streets [without any legal consequences].” If only I were in India or pretty much any other country, these tenants would have been out the door faster than they could think of an excuse.
One of the people I talked to and helped me understand the situation better was my manager at work. My manager owns a two-family rental property and had experience dealing with bad tenants. He had already filed two evictions. I told him about my situation with the rental property. He suggested finding a good lawyer who can take care of all the paperwork and answer all your questions.
He mentioned that owning a rental house and like owning a business; in fact it is a business. When managing a rental property, it involves a lot of time and effort. He said that I would have to be more “hands-on” and would sometimes need to take measures to ensure things get done.
He yelled at me for being so soft with the tenants and said that I should take charge and not let them bully me around. He verbally knocked sense into me. He reminded me that I am the owner of the property and I have the right to get my house back if they don’t pay rent. And that I should not fear them or second think about losing the case in court. After the conversation, my head became clear. I thought my manager made a good point. Since I owned the property, I should take house back and not be frightened by the bad tenant’s threats. It is my property and I am going to evict them and get my house back.
Below is a detailed account of some of the events that occurred.
The tenant called me several times and I reluctantly returned his calls. He asked to settle the case outside of court. First he warned that he has contacted License & Inspections (L&I) and L&I will issue heavy fines on the house. He also said that he would hire a lawyer and start a lawsuit against me. He found out that I did not have a rental license in Philadelphia at the time when he rented the house (however I do have the rental license now) and was planning to use that against me.
After telling me what damage he was capable of doing, he asked to “talk things over” with me. I asked what he was looking for. He said that he wanted to start over again, meaning he wanted to clear all the debt he owed me and sign a new one-year lease with me. He mentioned that he would pay one month’s of rent starting from January 2009. I asked him what about the rent money after that. Then he said that he will try to come up with the rent money going forward. His proposal was totally biased towards one side, and there was nothing in my favor. I did not agree to anything over the phone. I told him that I would need to consult with my lawyer first.
I called the attorney office to talk to them and asked to speak to my attorney. She was not in the office that day. The assistant, by the name of Mary, was rude and impatient. She merely told me to wait for the next court day.
I called the attorney office to talk to my attorney. The attorney was on the phone and the assistant, Mary answered. She was impatient and did not help with my questions and again told me to wait for the next court day. I called my attorney at night and left a message telling her that I have important questions for her.
My attorney return my call around 11 o’ clock that morning. I explained to her the situation I was in with the tenant and told her about the phone call that took place on Friday the 2nd of January. The attorney said that the L&I dept does not give out fines. Since I have the rental license now, it should be okay.
I talked to my manager in the office. He offered some good points as a landlord.
My tenant called and asked to talk things over. He wants to settle the case outside of court. His proposal is to wipe everything clean and start over as of January, 2009. The clean state that he proposed would include forgoing all the money he has owed me until the end of 2008 (judgment was $5270). If I don’t agree to his proposal, he said that he would show up in court and hire a lawyer to represent him. He would start a lawsuit against me for renting him the house without a rental license. And he would get L&I involved and have them penalize the owner for unfixed damages in the house.
I did not like his proposal, because it only favored him. Remembering that my attorney told me it’s best to negotiate with him. Therefore, I suggested an alternative offer to him. My offer is I would forgo all the money he owed me and in addition, I would give him some money if he agrees to leave the house. The tenant said that he would think about it and get back to me, and we ended the conversation.
I thought I was too soft again on the phone. I worried about his thoughts too much. Unfortunately, he could still do damage before the eviction process is over. However, I think my goal is to get the tenant out at all costs. He is like a virus in the body; it must be removed from the system before it further causes more havoc. Once again, I reminded myself to control my emotions and set my mind to fight the battle in court.
I received a call from my attorney’s office. One of the assistants called and informed me of the court hearing date, which will take place on February 20th, 8:45 AM.
My manager inquired about updates with the rental property. I told him that I tried to negotiate with the tenant. He yelled at me for listening to the tenant and being frightening by his threats. He reminded that I own the property and those tenants are merely renters. He advised that I should be more firm with my decisions and not fall into their traps. He suggested that I change my phone number if I could not resist from talking to him.
My tenant left me a voice mail indicating that he would like to further discuss how to settle our case outside of court. I called him back two times but he did not answer the phone on both occasions.
I received the bill from the water company for the rental property. The bill is several months overdue. The tenant was supposed to pay the bill.
Stay tune for more updates.
Rental Property Update February 2009
Rental Property Update December 2008